Dec 30 2010

The Biggest Underreported Stories of 2010: Increase of Corporate Power & Failure of Wars

Feature Stories | Published 30 Dec 2010, 11:31 am | Comments Off on The Biggest Underreported Stories of 2010: Increase of Corporate Power & Failure of Wars -

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2010On the second-to-last day of a very momentous year, we take a look back today at the biggest political stories of 2010. On the home front, major pieces of domestic legislation were passed after epic battles and lots of compromise. A few weeks into 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizen’s United Vs. FEC came to significantly strengthen the corporate role in elections. Healthcare reform became a holdover issue from 2009, and legislation finally passed both houses of Congress in March. In July the White House crossed another major piece of legislation off its to-do list with the passage of Wall Street Reform. The worst environmental disaster in the history of the US and the Gulf Coast took place over the summer with the explosion of the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig spewing millions of barrels of crude into the ocean. In November, mid-term elections played out largely as expected, with campaign spending in the billions, and Republicans retaking the House by a landslide. Democrats managed to retain control of the Senate by a slim majority, and President Obama responded by promising more compromise. He made good on this and negotiated an 11th hour deal this month, trading an extension of the Bush tax-cuts for a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits. Overall, the economy did not improve and national unemployment hit a high of 9.8% in November. Outside of Washington, a national debate and wave of anti-Islamic sentiment sprang from the so-called “Ground Zero-Mosque in New York.” It came to a boil in Florida when the pastor of a small evangelical Christian church promised to burn Korans on 9/11 unless plans for the New York Islamic Center were canceled. While memories of 9/11 and our troops in the Middle East were invoked during the rhetorical battles at home, the economy dragged attention away from the wars being fought overseas. The biggest foreign policy shift of the year came with the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in late August. 2010 was the deadliest of the Afghanistan war, and in early November the White House signaled that withdrawal from the country would be pushed back to 2014. Haiti’s worst earthquake happened early in the year, killing nearly a quarter of a million people and affecting three million. Arguably the most significant development of 2010, in terms of its impact on domestic and foreign affairs, was made by anonymous sources, and the activists behind the website Wikileaks. In releasing classified military and foreign affairs documents, Wikileaks shook the foundation of American government and now ranks among the biggest enemies of the US.

GUESTS: Laura Flanders, host and founder of GRITtv, editor of the new book “At the Tea Party: The Wing Nuts, Whack Jobs and Whitey-Whiteness of the New Republican Right… And Why We Should Take It Seriously,” Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy

Find out more about Laura Flanders at www.grittv.org.

Find out more about Just Foreign Policy at www.justforeignpolicy.org and read Robert Naiman’s writings at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman

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